Hearing his question, Lilith who was about to eat narrowed her eyes as she elegantly put down her fork and knife with a strained sigh.
Silence settled between the two before she finally broke the tense atmosphere as she began to speak,
“Despite having a daughter that I love with all my heart, I always wanted a son like you. So, I must thank the goddesses and my dearest brother that I was left with you.”
Sol didn’t know how to respond to her sudden declaration, so he simply decided to remain mute and wait for her to continue her speech,
“I did not know about your existence until a few days before the final war. That man did not tell me about you until just before he died. In fact, everyone in the palace made sure that it was the greatest secret and that words of it would never reach my ears.”
It was not uncommon for someone with a right to the throne to kill anyone who could threaten their claim. As such it was only natural that the king and his retainers would be concerned.
“How very rude. Did they think I was a cold, heartless woman who would capture you and devour you? My very own nephew?”
She expressed her anger by repeatedly stabbing a piece of meat with her silver fork.
Rather than going mad with jealousy and foolishly attempting to kill the legitimate heir, she had generously given him his rightful title and was ready to step down at any moment if he so wished to inherit the throne.
After calming herself by taking some deep breaths, she took Sol’s hand into her own before staring into his deep blue eyes,
“Sol, every time I look at you, I see the shadow of my brother. Be it your tall and muscular frame, or your long golden hair and beautiful crystal blue eyes. There’s absolutely no mistake about you being his child.”
As she spoke those words, she slowly caressed his hair with a loving look on her ever stoic face.
“Sol. You are frankly everything I could ask for and so much more. You are handsome and hard working. You are smart and full of interesting ideas. But…”
She stopped and looked down at her free hand clenching it as she delivered to him the painfully bitter truth,
“It isn’t enough. Like your father, you lack the single-minded drive to become stronger, despite your immeasurable talent. The all-consuming desire to stand above the others no matter what. The desire to stand in front of everyone and shadow them with your wide back.”
She abruptly got up and opened her arms wide, an amalgam of emotions brimming in her eyes as she started her monologue,
“Sol, Mars Luxuria was known as the strongest man ever born. A natural hero. A supreme being that made all the seven kingdoms tremble at the mere utterance of his name.”
She gazed back at him and Sol nearly jumped in fright at the intensity he could see brimming in her eyes. It was an almost fanatical glow,
“Sol Dragona Luxuria. You are the heir of this kingdom. You are the future king of Lustburg. More importantly, you are the son of the hero king. The man who saved this world. The man, the hero, who immortalized himself with his deeds. Never forget that. This title isn’t just a boon for you. This is also a curse. A weight. A burden that will try to crush you at every moment of your life.”
The fanatical glow dimmed before changing into a sad melancholic light,
“All your life, you will be compared to your father. It does not matter what you do. When you succeed, they will see it as normal and when you fail, they will mock you for being a disgrace.
“While children are praised for passing grades, you will instead be mocked. They will never care for your struggles and will chalk everything up to your talent and circumstances. They will never accept your merit as they will think that it was to be expected.
“Sol, my dearest child. I have protected you for more than twelve years. I have hidden you from the world as much as possible and raised you to be the young man that you are today. I think that I managed to give you a happy childhood. One even happier than the one I was able to give to my own daughter. But…
“After your awakening, I will not be able to hide you anymore without being accused of trying to steal the throne or manipulate you. Soon, you will have to face the world by yourself. A world that will be full of expectations for you but, at the same time, a world that, more than anything else, will wish to see you fail and make a fool out of yourself.
“After you awaken, you will become a man. You will have to fight for your authority. Fight for your life. Fight for your rights. For your kingdom. Your friends and your lovers. Let me ask you… Are you ready?”
All her monologue made his mind go blank. He couldn’t even form any coherent thoughts. It was just too much to take in one go.
Still, as he heard her question and asked himself whether he was ready or not, he came with a rather bitter answer, and couldn’t help but lower his head.
Lilith though, didn’t let him do so, she caught his head between her hands before he could fully lower it, a severe light was present in her eyes as she reprimanded him,
“A true king never lowers his head because of shame. They shoulder it with their head held high and fight to become better.
“Sol, I wish to see you stand at a height so high, that no one would ever compare you to your father again. I wish for you to live a life your father never had the chance to live. I wish for you to live in happiness. But more than anything,” her face clouded with immeasurable sadness as she whispered the last painful words, “More than anything…I wish for you to never make the same mistakes your father did.”
“Sol. Do you know why your father, a man so powerful that all the seven kingdoms feared him, a man who could saunter in and out from the spirit realm as if it was his own backyard, a man who even the gods acclaimed, died?”
Sol gulped after hearing her question. This was a blank point in history. Everyone knew his father died during the war against the invaders while sealing all of them in an alternate dimension. But no one knew why… The war was going so well that his death shouldn’t have been necessary even more so with someone as powerful as his mother by his side.
“Sol. Your father. Your oh so powerful and almighty father died because of a woman.”